Tag Archives: re-tweet

Halloween 2014 is sponsored by…

21 Oct

20140430-231008.jpgIn a dark room in a chilling office, set among a black backdrop of skyscrapers gracing the city’s skyline, shone a single glimmer of light. John stayed silent as he moved the cursor around his overworked computer screen.

The window had been left open to curb the stench of late-night pizza. The draft surrounded John and he systematically shivered. Pressing print, he moved slowly to collect his paperwork – marking the end of a 12-hour working day. As John turned his chair a glass smashed on the floor.

‘That’s strange,’ thought John. ‘I’ve not used a glass today.’

A rush of adrenaline shot through his veins, followed by a sense of calm. He even had time to momentarily wonder if they were his last thoughts. It felt like a lifetime, but in reality the person, or thing, who’d smashed the glass had acted quickly. As he hit the thick wooden floors, he turned ever so slightly to see who had attacked him. But, the remained silent.

With no time to feel scared he didn’t even try. Instead he opted to give his body in to the pain and then… nothing.

Got your attention? Don’t worry, John’s Halloween pitch made it to the client. But I don’t think I’ve ever seen as many brands making the most of this American holiday as I have this this year. And poor PRs like John are risking their lives by working overtime to deliver standout campaigns.

Maybe it’s because it falls on a weekend, and entertainment and lifestyle companies want to use this as an opportunity to boost sales and strengthen its position for Christmas.

Whatever the reason, it’s working. I’ve seen some cracking campaigns and here’s my top five:

Waterstones’ blogger mystery
No, it’s not locking in more tourists and keeping them there overnight to turn them into social media sensations. Waterstones is launching an online murder mystery with five bloggers who will communicate clues for fans, via their blogs and Twitter (where was my invite guys?), to work out ‘whodunit’. Those who crack the case will find themselves £50 richer (vouchers, darling).

Nice use of social and great blogger engagement, coupled with subtle branding, means that Waterstones is getting down from the shelf and making itself the go-to destination for books. Tick!

Walking Dead staggers to PR success
To celebrate the launch of the fifth series of the Walking Dead, Now TV made former MIC star Millie Mackintosh into a zombie to support its online campaign. In addition to this, it created a buzz on social media by sending personalised popcorn holders with ‘bloodstained’ snacks inside which was sent to celebrities and journalists.

To give customers a chance to join in the fun, it’s also using Twitter to give wary special edition Walking Dead Now TV equipment, zombie makeup and the exclusive popcorn holder. The competition hashtag is hardly memorable – #TWDNOWTV – but in two days it’s generated over 150 re-tweets and is steadily seeing its follower count rise.

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Spooky Speaker app shouts out
To promote its Halloween costume range, superpower supermarket Sainsbury’s has launched a voice app to inspire children to ‘transform’ into their scary characters using its voice distortion functions. The voices – such as Frankenstein, Witches, Vampires and Skeletons – match the costume designs available in store and online.

It’s a good attempt, reminding parents and children that Sainsbury’s is their one-stop shop for Halloween goodies, but can the interactive app outdo Asda’s inflatable wings which are being supported with TV advertising? Time will tell.

Chupa Chups’ chomping campaign
It’s great that brands are starting to scratch beneath the surface to see the value of Instagram – and Chupa Chups is no exception. It’s using this social network to create an online game, encouraging users to free a trapped lolly before it gets a licking. Age is certainly no barrier here. With contemporary references to current culture, the youth brand has made this Halloween-themed relevant to all groups.

Do you dare trust the National Trust?
Not strictly Halloween themed, but the National Trust has extended its successful ‘50 things to do before you’re 11 3/4‘ campaign by creating a direct mail around number 40: night walks. This glow in the dark pack targets existing members and encourages people to essentially see more than they bargain for by trudging down a natural trail at night.

This stunt might come with a parental advisory warning (i.e. kids – please don’t walk alone), but not only has the National Trust found a novel way to reach out to an engaged audience raising brand awareness, but it’s hit gold with timing this during half term. Expect to see families up and town the country on night walks next weekend.

With just over a week to go we’re bound to see more stunts slip out of the woodwork. But, whether they’re bold enough to make the top five is yet to be seen.

What do you think? Are brands going for ghoul this Halloween?

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The Academy tweets the perfect tribute to Robin Williams

12 Aug

When I woke up this morning I had a #WhileYouWereSleeping hashtag moment after reading that Oscar-winning actor Robin Williams has died at the age of 63.

As the world’s media look for people who ‘knew him well’ for sofa interviews, finalise their obituaries and monitor celebrity tributes, there’s just one thing I’m interested in today: The Academy.

Eight hours ago it tweeted the words ‘Genie, you’re free‘ to 768,000 followers (and counting), in reference to Williams’ role as the Genie in Disney’s Aladdin – and it’s already been re-tweeted more than 196,000 times and favourited by over 130,000.

Throughout Williams’ 35-year career, he was nominated for four Oscars but was always the bridesmaid and never the bride until he teamed up with Matt Damon and Ben Affleck for Good Will Hunting in 1997 – five years after Aladdin. So, why did it tweet the Genie?

Jumanji, Patch Adams and Hook aside, this was Williams’ iconic role, albeit animated, because he didn’t even have to act. The Genie is Williams – the role was designed for him, not the other way around. And the fact that the film sold well over 25m copies worldwide upon its release is testament to this.

So, now that’s settled, why else was the tweet so successful (apart from being picked up by online superpower Buzzfeed)?

1) Thought leadership

The Oscars are at the top of the food chain when it comes to the movies. The honours are respected, so if The Academy is tweeting to a large audience, everyone takes notice.

2) A picture says a lot of words

The Academy used a striking and emotive image of the Genie with Aladdin. It didn’t feel the need to crop, zoom in or filter. It opted for simplicity and it’s paid off.

3) Straight to the point The simplicity of the image was also reflected in the wording, which captured the essence of Williams without the need for hashtags, weblinks or self-promotion – maintaining The Academy’s classy reputation. So, not only is this the perfect tribute, but also the perfect PR balance.

What do you think of the tribute tweet?

The Academy tweets the perfect tribute to Robin Williams

The Academy tweets the perfect tribute to Robin Williams

Jamaica’s bobsleigh team in the (cool) runnings to get to the Games

20 Jan

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Jamaica‘s motto is ‘out of many, one people‘ and it’s never rang truer than this week. The lush Caribbean island has qualified for the two-man bobsleigh event at next month’s Sochi Winter Olympics.

That’s right – Cool Runnings is becoming a reality (again). But one thing almost stood in Winston Watts and Marvin Dixon’s way – money. The funding was so tight they had to dip into their own pockets and even watched the final qualifying round from home with bated breath to see it they’d made it through to the next round.

But, once again, Twitter has proved itself as the key driver for crowd-sourcing success. @JamaicaOlympics backed its athletes by drawing attention to a unique crowd-funding initiative on the micro-blogging site moments after the pair qualified. And, although each tweet didn’t generate mass re-tweets or favourites, they’re being seen by the right people.

Most of those people used internet currency sensation Dogecoin to generate the much-needed cash – and in doing so it’s boosted the value of the crypto currency. So I predict we’ll be hearing more about it, and it’s rivals, in the coming months.

The great news is that tonight it was revealed that, thanks to a blend of individual and corporate doners, the team raised $25,000.

This flurry of national PR has meant that Watts and Dixon have dominated news articles as well as the sports pages – including The Guardian, Metro and the New York Times to name a few. And hopefully it’ll encourage the world to find the remaining $15,000 to get Jamaica to the Games.

The team’s fundraising success is testament to @JamaicaOlympics upping its game, while the sporting world was asking questions about the island’s novelty team. It’s gone from tweeting once a day to every hour; re-tweeting key stakeholders; and increasing its level of call to actions. Accompanied by a thriving website, team blog and Facebook page – Jamaica’s got the full social media package.

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